Issued by Collectors Dream, the Saturday Night Special (Ready for Rock 'n' Roll Part II) disc pulls together a cash-in collection of classic rock covers. In the late 1980s, they had their greatest hits with like Rock Me, Once Bitten, Twice Shy or Save Your Love. Over the same period, the songs from seventies heavy weights Aerosmith ("Same Old Song and Dance"), Lynyrd Skynyrd ("Saturday Night Special"), Led Zeppelin ("Dazed & Confused"), Thin Lizzy ("Sarah") and Van Halen ("Unchained") carry the sharpest teeth from the recording. Saturday Night Special is the follow-up album to the Collector's Dream Series Ready For Rock N Roll.
The twelve song Ready for Rock 'n' Roll disc is a repackaged collection of covers from days gone by, before Great White splintered into a pair of rival groups. "Sin City" starts that remake action, which includes a cool medley entitled "Bitches and Other Women".
Barry White has been to the top of the charts an admirable number of times, but only one of his hits was a ballad (a studio effort for the Quincy Jones album Back on the Block that included El DeBarge, James Ingram and Al B. Sure!). However, as a solo artist, White has never had a ballad usurp the number one spot on the Billboard charts. The Icon Is Love's featured release fills that void. "Practice What You Preach," which unites the maestro with producers Gerald LeVert and Edwin Nicholas, has a simmering arrangement, evocative lyric, and White's brawn delivery. The catchy melody and sensuous female backing vocals enhance this already stellar single. It stayed on the Billboard R&B charts for 30 weeks and had a consecutive three-week run at number one.
Barry White turned into such iconic figure that it’s odd to hear his beginnings on his 1973 debut I’ve Got So Much to Give. In a sense, his sound is fully formed – there’s no mistaking his velvet baritone or his lush, string-draped surrounding, particularly on the album’s closing “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby,” a song so seductive it set the pace for the rest of his career. Still, behind that creamy drapery it’s possible to hear a strong debt to Isaac Hayes throughout I’ve Got So Much to Give, particularly when the whole affair opens a slow, steady, eight-minute crawl through “Standing in the Shadows of Love” that strips all the bounciness out of the Supremes original, just like how all of Hayes reworkings of ‘60s pop hits turned the hit versions inside out on Hot Buttered Soul. Barry may be following in Isaac’s footsteps, but he winds up on his own path, one that isn’t quite as ambitious, one that is fairly hellbent on romance to the exclusion of everything else.
The best-recorded Roy Orbison live disc ever issued, taken from the soundtrack of the HBO concert from the 1980s with VIP guests like Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. This was a sort of magical video, and the performances are splendid, along with the good feelings involved. On the other hand, the performances are extremely reverential to the established studio versions of the songs (all of the hits are here), and intended to mimic them, so this isn't quite the same as a live album as it would have been done back when. The pity is that neither Monument nor MGM ever taped any complete concerts by Orbison from the 1960s, and all that remains are TV appearances from Europe.
Amazingly, it has been 30 years since Roy Orbison‘s 1987 television ‘comeback’ show A Black & White Night. To mark the occasion ‘Roy’s Boys’ – Alex Orbison and Roy Orbison Jnr – have gone back to the source footage and audio and re-edited, remastered and, if you are feeling fanciful, ‘re-imagined’ the television special, to create an expanded audio/visual document that will be available on CD/Blu-ray or CD/DVD in February. The concert – filmed at Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles – was shot using seven separate cameras and there were hundreds of hours of footage that went unused and unseen. Roy’s youngest son Alex has gone back to this source material and, with the help of co-editor Luke Chalk, re-edited to reflect the correct set order as seen by those who attended the show.